12 Reasons to Attend a Writers’ Conference

Well, it’s that time of year again. I will soon be headed off to Write Canada. And this year I was asked to co-teach a Creative Nonfiction Intensive. This was my reaction . . .

An unexpected opportunity is only one reason to attend a writers’ conference.

Here are 12 others:

  1. There’s nothing like being surrounded by other creatives. I find this especially true at Write Canada, an event put on by The Word Guild, an organization of writers who are Christian. We truly care about one another and love to hear of one another’s writing successes.
  2. Depending on the conference, there may be something for writers at every point along the path. The Write Canada conference has continuing classes and workshops for beginners, intermediate writers, and those on the career track. (Check out the specifics online of the conference you plan to attend.)
  3. You will have the opportunity to rub shoulders with fellow writers, published authors, agents, editors, and publishers.
  4. If you have a completed work of fiction or an idea for a nonfiction piece, you will probably have opportunities to deliver your “elevator pitch,” that 30-second pitch you give to interest an agent, editor, or publisher in learning more about your work.
  5. Depending on the individual instructor, you may have time in class to put into practice what you’re learning. Freewriting can be intimidating, but it’s a wonderful way to get your creative juices flowing. And remember, even professional writers rewrite and polish their first drafts—usually several times.
  6. From plenary sessions to workshops, from continuing classes to one-on-one sessions with faculty, you will likely find yourself on information overload. Take notes. Buy session recordings. Pace yourself. You can review the information at home.
  7. You may be able to get a professional critique of your writing. There is sometimes an additional cost, but it is worth it.
  8. You will get the skinny on the best new books on the craft of writing. I encourage you to include a budget for books.
  9. If you have a book to sell, you may have opportunities to do so. This year, authors who attend Write Canada can reserve tables at minimal cost in order to participate in a Meet the Author evening.
  10. Don’t be intimidated because you’re an introvert. Many creatives are and will understand your need to withdraw from time to time to process what you’re learning.
  11. But if you’re an extrovert who’s all about relationships like I am, you may find the #1 benefit to attending a writers’ conference is that you end up making many new friends, people you look forward to seeing again the following year.

And last but not least . . .

  1. You will likely go home primed and ready to write.

Have you ever attended a writers’ conference? If so, what was the best thing about it? If not, what is the most compelling reason to do so in the future?

Stephanie Nickel

Stephanie Nickel

Contributed by Stephanie Nickel, CES Editor, Coach, Critique Specialist

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